Teva reaches $4.25 billion tentative settlement for opioids

Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the country’s largest manufacturers of generic opioids, has announced a settlement in principle with approximately 2,500 local governments, states and tribes over the company’s role in the ongoing deadly opioid epidemic.

The deal, worth up to $4.25 billion, came after a series of high-profile litigation and previous settlements in separate cases across the country over the past year.

Although far less well-known, the Israeli company Teva and its affiliates produced far more prescription opioids during the peak years of the crisis than well-known opioid manufacturers such as Johnson & Johnson. Its production of both generic and brand-name painkillers dwarfs that of Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, a drug that has been directly associated with an avalanche of overdoses and deaths.

Under the agreement, Teva will pay out payments for 13 years, channeling them to state, local and tribal programs to alleviate the opioid crisis, which has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. The $4.25 billion total includes nearly $550 million in settlements the company has already made since the lawsuits began in San Francisco as well as Florida. West VirginiaTexas, Louisiana and Rhode Island.

States and communities can accept a portion of their overdose drug payments instead of cash.

The deal was negotiated by representatives of about a dozen state attorneys general. “Today’s announcement shows once again that those responsible for this tragic issue will be held accountable and those affected by the opioid epidemic will be helped,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office participated in the talks. statement.

Teva said in a statement: “While the agreement will not include admissions of wrongdoing, it is in our best interest to put these cases behind us and continue to focus on the patients we serve every day.”

People close to the talks said that about 10-12 percent of the money would be used to pay fees to lawyers who have filed cases against the company since 2013.

In 2016, Teva acquired Actavis, Allergan’s generics division. For the Teva deal to be completed, Allergan must also reach an agreement with these plaintiffs. Lawyers familiar with the talks said they expected an announcement soon.

The deal is also subject to a large majority of state, local and tribal governments voting in favor of it.

Lawyers on the executive committee negotiating with local governments urged everyone to support the hard-won deal: “We call on all these groups to sign this agreement to put these resources into the hands of those who need them as quickly as possible.” the statement says.

While such an outcome seems likely, one of the states involved in the negotiations has yet to sign the deal: New York, and the counties of Nassau and Suffolk, which defeated Teva in a civil jury last december. In the shadow of the second phase of this financial remedy litigation, New York is still negotiating with the company, a spokesman for the New York Attorney General’s office said.

Getting an acceptable offer from Teva has been a particularly protracted struggle for the states, tribes and municipalities that have filed cases against her. While Purdue Pharma, for example, has often been associated with bloated and misleading marketing of its brand-name drugs to physicians, they are not formally approached by generic drug makers to sell. Teva claimed that it did not sell its opioids to doctors.

One of the Teva proposals for initial settlement, in 2019 consisted almost entirely of medicines, as well as a small amount of cash. While Johnson & Johnson and the three drug distributors that also participated in this early offering continued make a deal two years later, Teva continued to sue.

But in December 2020, Senate Finance Committee. released results that particularly criticized Teva, among other manufacturers, for the millions of dollars it paid out to tax-exempt groups that lobbied lawmakers and others to increase patient access to pain medication. At trial, the plaintiffs said Teva, which has dominated the generic market by buying smaller companies, ignored red flags such as orders for oversized pills.